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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Hardware » Printers
Print server - Allow direct print without driver?
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 3577
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed 20 Jan 2016, 15:08    Post subject:  Print server - Allow direct print without driver?  

Is it possible to use a Puppy OS as a printserver in such a way that other machines on the network can "push" a file (for example a .pdf or a .jpg) to that server and have it printed successfully - even though the originating PC (or cellphone/tablet/Mac) does not have a driver installed?

I know some printers allow this sort of direct printing but I wondered if an older printer could be hooked to a Puppy print server to add such functionality.

EDIT : Maybe what I am wanting could be achieved by having some sort of 'dropbox' or file share where the remote user would place the file to be printed - and then the printserver would automatically grab that file and print it then delete it from the dropbox.

Possibly there would be two dropboxes - one for colour documents and a separate one for black/white documents - and the printserver would use a different printer for each dropbox.

EDIT2 : After reading a bit more about printing common formats I have a question in my mind about whether it may be best to convert each document to pdf or ps for printing. It looks as if older versions of cups prefer working with ps and newer versions are tuned for pdf as the common format. If so, then this may require an extra step in the flow - accept different formats into the dropbox and then converting them to pdf or ps depending on puppy version and cups version. (maybe)
"Standard" print job notes to read
cups notes
Samba/pdf creation notes

EDIT 3: As suggested by disciple "inotify" could be handy. See this thread. Point to note - Puppy lacks inotify but does have inotifywait and inotifywatch.
Script possibility for inotifywait here
.

Last edited by greengeek on Thu 21 Jan 2016, 16:07; edited 5 times in total
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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 1818
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 08:11    Post subject:  

As long as the OS that the printer is attached to has the driver, all other applications can use a different driver.
However, most modern programs will format any prints using the currently attached printer (which may be generic), so the actual prints on the printer may not fit or will likely not look like you expected.

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disciple

Joined: 20 May 2006
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 14:35    Post subject:  

Eh? What method are you talking about printing with?

There is an old thread somewhere about the use of a generic print driver, which might still be useful, but that's still a driver. There's no reason you couldn't save pdfs or something to a folder on the server and have a script print them, triggered by inotify or a timer or something.

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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
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Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 14:43    Post subject:  

disciple wrote:
There's no reason you couldn't save pdfs or something to a folder on the server and have a script print them, triggered by inotify or a timer or something.
Thanks disciple - you posted that just as I was editing my first post. I think your suggestion is what I would like to achieve.

Even if the printserver could handle only pdfs that would be adequate. If it could handle pdf, jpeg and docx or odt also then even better.
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disciple

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 14:59    Post subject:  

So all you need to do is set up a Samba share or whatever, and look at if you want to use any special command line print options, put them in a script and look at how to use inotify to run it. Or if you use a timer, depending on how you do it your timer may need to get the name of the files and copy them into another directory then print them by name, to avoid printing really long jobs more than once.
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gcmartin


Joined: 14 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 15:20    Post subject:  

Actually, a Print server can be designed to do this. And, a Linux can be designed, as well, to provide printer drivers to PCs on the network.

The concept is that a PC prints a "raw" file to the Printer Server's spool and the printer server uses its Print driver(s) to properly send the print instructions and data to the printer(s).

This is usually seen in systems where there are different types of printers managed by the print server. If the original printer is not available, secondary printers, though different, can print the spool job(s), when needed without any need to recreate the print at the original system.

Have done this with MS many times. SAMBA in all of the modern PUPs can be set to do the same. Not sure about CUPS.

Hope this helps

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greengeek

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 15:32    Post subject:  

gcmartin wrote:
And, a Linux can be designed, as well, to provide printer drivers to PCs on the network.
Hi GC - that is something I wanted to avoid. I am looking for a driverless solution (at the user end).
One of the things I want to achieve is to make it possible for my children and guests to send a file from their iPhones and Android phones/tablets etc to the printserver so the transfer functionality needs to be driver independent.
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disciple

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 15:38    Post subject:  

It can be a little difficult to get samba capability on phones these days - you need a bluetooth solution! But phones these days also often don't come with software to actually do anything with bluetooth! And how will you create the PDFs? They'll the app that "prints" to PDF...
Phones are a pain.

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greengeek

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 15:43    Post subject:  

disciple wrote:
But phones these days also often don't come with software to actually do anything with bluetooth! And how will you create the PDFs?
Fair point. I probably need to include a solution that allows them to send me an email with a jpg attachment.

So my printserver puppy probably needs its own email address and the ability to grab an attachment. Hmmm, getting more complex. I probably also need to look more closely at IPP printing.
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greengeek

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 15:53    Post subject:  

HP has a "mobile printing" arrangement whereby mobile devices upload the file they want to print by attaching it to a an email sent an email address which is specific to the target printer. The printer grabs the email and prints the attachment. That is the sort of workflow I may need for mobile devices. The print server will likely need to have an email address if I dont go the samba or bluetooth route.
http://www8.hp.com/us/en/ads/mobility/overview.html?jumpid=va_r11400_mobileprinting
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gcmartin


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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 16:10    Post subject:  

Hi @GreenGeek

Your Google ID has had remote print solutions for years now. Excellent work, and you pay nothing for it. With very little effort you can set it to print to any printer in your home. And, it is very very very fast in doing so. In fact, some of us have set up to print in our home and our family's member's homes as well; then any family member can print wherever they need.

On printing from Phones are you talking about MS Office? Or, what phone apps are you seeking to print from?

If you are envisioning smartDevices as PCs (as us oldtimers do), you may need to step back a bit to see how "smarts" do their printing; among the many other things they do from a little different angle than how we are accustomed.

This is the very reason why your Google ID is your friend.

Step back and envision how your ID can meet any smartDevice objective(s). ALL smartPhones come OOTB connected to the web.

Might also take a look at my Linux statement again, in context with its paragraph.

Hope this is helpful

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greengeek

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 20:44    Post subject:  

gcmartin wrote:
Your Google ID has had remote print solutions for years now.
Interesting, thanks. I will look into that

Quote:
On printing from Phones are you talking about MS Office? Or, what phone apps are you seeking to print from?
Not from any specific type/brand of phone - I see my kids and their friends emailing pics to each other (as you say the phones are web connected at all times) and I thought it would be handy to offer them an easy way to print without having to waste time copying the file to a desktop PC (many Android users don't even have a file manager to help them do this).
I have also considered getting a smartphone with one of the scanning apps that takes a photo of a document through the phone camera, converts it to pdf and then sends it via email. It would be nice to be able to print that pdf to confirm quality before sending.

Quote:
Might also take a look at my Linux statement again, in context with its paragraph.
I might be misunderstanding your comments about other PCs sending a raw file to the server - I was under the impression there were only two ways for those PCs to send the file:
1) As a complete file (eg test.pdf or fruit.jpg)
2) As a file preformatted through a print driver on the originating device. (which can't be achieved in the case of a smartphone I believe)

Correct me if I'm wrong about that.
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gcmartin


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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2016, 21:30    Post subject:  

One example

There are many others

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